» Posts Tagged ‘acting’

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Taxi DriverStudying films, whether they’re poorly or masterfully made, is one of the greatest ways you can educate yourself about how (not) to make a film. Martin Scorsese’s masterfully made Taxi Driver has been studied time and time again by experts, students, and enthusiasts, but in this 1999 documentary about the making of the film, we get to hear from the filmmakers themselves, including Scorsese, screenwriter Paul Schrader, DP Michael Chapman, editor Tom Rolf, the cast, and even legendary makeup artist Dick Smith, who explain in great detail how Taxi Driver came to be. Continue on for a few key takeaways from the doc. More »

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Jack LemmonActor Jack Lemmon offered his talent in some of the most iconic comedies in cinematic history, including Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, and of course, The Odd Couple. Needless to say, he acquired a wealth of wisdom in a career that spanned over half a century, and now thanks to filmschoolthrucommentaries, we get to listen in as Lemmon shares some great insight into one of his most compelling, dramatic roles, Shelley Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross, as well as what it was like working with the film’s writer, David Mamet. More »

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Philip-Seymour-Hoffman-The-MasterOn Sunday, the film world lost one of its most talented and beloved actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman. He was 46. While much has been written in the past few days about his life, death, and demons, we’d like to look back and celebrate some of the unforgettable performances he gave in his all too short career. Click through to see some of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s finest movie moments.  More »

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THR Breathrough PerformancesIt’s always a treat when the greatest directors in the industry, from Scorsese to Jarmusch, offer up their wisdom and insight about filmmaking to independent filmmakers. However, another great pool of knowledge comes from the ones great directors direct — the actors. For The Hollywood Reporter’s sixth panel they bring together six of the years’ most exciting actors for their Breakthrough Performers Panel, in which they share how they grew as artists, as well as what directors can do to help them rise to the occasion. More »

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Scorsese directingIf you’re a director, you’re responsible for so much that goes on (or should be going on) on and off set, but your one primary role is to connect with, lead, and direct actors. There are many different ways to do this, but Mark W. Travis, considered one of the world’s leading authorities on film directing, has shared some thoughts on the difference between directing with a focus on character versus performance, and weighs in on his opinion on the “right” approach to coaching actors — one that will encourage and guide them toward performing to their full potential. More »

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Ron HowardRon Howard has been a presence in Hollywood, either as an actor or director, for decades. As a child actor, he was beloved as the character Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days. As a Hollywood director, Howard has worked in almost every genre, from family films like Parenthood to thrillers like Ransom or his newest, Rush. Howard sat down to give a few thoughts on filmmaking to BAFTA (The British Academy of Film and Television Arts), and when as consummate a filmmaker as Howard speaks, we would be wise to listen. Click below to hear Howard’s thoughts on acting, editing and the role of a director! More »

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David MametDavid Mamet has solidified himself as a master of the stage and silver screen, having penned the Pulitzer Prize-winning play-turned-film Glengarry Glen Rossas well as receiving Oscar nominations for two of his screenplays. He’s a no-nonsense director, known to use a metronome during scene rehearsals in order to produce that iconic rhythm to his dialog, and his grasp of the scene makes him a credit to filmmaking. He shares his thoughts on film in a 15-minute video commentary, touching on everything from theories of the narrative to how to teach actors to “look at a scene.” More »

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James GandolfiniThere’s no doubt that James Gandolfini was an incredible actor. With countless awards under his belt, such as 3 Screen Actors Guild Awards, 3 Emmys, and a Golden Globe — all for his portrayal of Tony Soprano in The Sopranos – there is much to be learned from a talent like him. He appeared on Inside the Actor’s Studio, hosted by James Lipton, back in 2009, and shared with the audience many pearls of wisdom about acting: the struggles of portraying a violent man, working with directors, and the most important factors of choosing a role. Take a look inside the mind of the late, great James Gandolfini. More »

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This is a guest post by filmmaker Jeremy Engle.

Many filmmakers are weary of casting real teenagers, particularly non-professional ones, in their movies. And for good reason: You can’t shoot long hours, if you film during the school year, you need to get them tutors, and there’s tons of extra paperwork. And I haven’t even mentioned the parents. For many, teenage actors just add up to too many headaches. More »

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You might have heard his name before as an actor, but Edward Burns is also an accomplished director in his own right. He’s been steadily making films for more than a decade now (his newest is The Fitzgerald Family Christmas), but it’s only been the last few years that he has tried to make films the DIY way, raising small amounts of money to make smaller movies that he can distribute digitally. If you needed any proof that digital distribution can work, look no further than his recent films. A little while back he sat down with Ghetto Film School in a Google Hangout to discuss directing and give some advice on how to work with actors. More »

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While personal branding can be an important consideration to make in today’s world of hyper-stimulation and instantaneous mass media, there’s also a danger to become type-cast or pigeonholed given the body of work you’ve already established for yourself. Recently, director Rick Alverson has teamed up with the stars/masterminds behind Adult Swim’s Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! – Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim — in a project that anyone familiar with the latter series may actually find difficult to believe. The Comedy screened at this year’s Sundance and has subsequently been released on VOD, and Tim Heidecker’s lead performance has received some impressive nods and positive attention. In a recent interview by Filmmaker Magazine, Tim highlights the benefits of breaking your own creative molds. More »

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There aren’t too many acting posts on this site, but more often than not acting advice can be helpful for directors as well. In this case, Dave Foley, of Kids in the Hall fame, talks about how he stays sane between jobs and how being able to work at all in the industry is a complete fluke. Even if you’re not an actor, if filmmaking is (or becomes) your day job, you will most certainly go through periods of inactivity, so his advice can definitely apply to more than just actors. Check out the interview with Film Courage below. More »

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Can you look inside and see a murderer? A saint? A fascist? In this thought-provoking clip, Orson Welles shares some of his views on acting, and how great performances depend on the act of revealing — the ability to show those parts of ourselves that are the character.  Whether you agree or disagree, it’s worth checking out and pondering: More »

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How do you make sure you stay in frame and focus while performing?  What is the best way to work with off-camera actors while performing a close-up?  How can props like cigarettes become a major headache?  Michael Caine answers these questions and more as part of a film acting workshop broadcast on the BBC.  You can watch the hour-long special in its entirety after the jump, along with 10 film acting lessons pulled from it — highly recommended for actors and non-actors alike!: More »

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This is a guest post by DP and filmmaker Randolph Sellars.

I’ll be talking about working with experienced actors and feeling a little uncomfortable or inadequate as a director. The lack of confidence when directing actors is an embarrassing secret many directors share that’s not often discussed. More »

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I heard recently from an NYC-based actor friend who is undergoing an internal debate common to his profession. Should he move to LA to pursue an acting career (uprooting himself in hopes of getting cast in a major TV show or film), or stay where he is and do what he can outside of Hollywood? As someone who runs a web site focused on DIY/independent careers, I thought I’d write him an open letter explaining why I think 21st-century performing artists should forget about putting their careers in the hands of others, and instead take the reins — and responsibility — themselves. Here is that letter: More »

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This is the fifth in a series of guest posts by filmmaker Raafi Rivero.

Several of you have reached out via comments, email, and twitter about continuing the Director’s Chair series and I’m glad for all the feedback. One of the most-requested ideas was to do a post on working with non-actors. I’ll start with an old saying that comes from our sister profession, photography: The camera looks both ways. More »

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This is the fourth in a series of guest posts by filmmaker Raafi Rivero.

I often hear directors say stuff like, “he was good in the audition, but I don’t know what happened.” How do you tell a buddy that his actor sucked? Half the time you sit there thinking, “well, did you direct him?” How do you get a woman who was so good in the audition to just relax and be who she was before? The sad news is that if you “don’t know what happened” I can tell you: you weren’t a good enough director that day. These are the bad times. The slightly better news is that it happens to all of us at some point. And hopefully you learn from it. More »

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This is the third in a series of guest posts by filmmaker Raafi Rivero.

“Going again!” There are a million reasons why you do another take on a shot: bad camera move, bad sound, flubbed line, etc. But there are pitfalls to shooting too many takes just as there are shooting too few. Sometimes you go again without giving actors feedback (this is bad). Sometimes you don’t go again and walk away with a sub-par performance (this is worse). Let’s talk about the realities of shooting multiple takes on set. More »

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This is the second in a series of guest posts by filmmaker Raafi Rivero.

“What’s my motivation?” This clichéd line that you hear from people making fun of actors has obfuscated its utility. In film school a professor of mine referred to every beat in the script as an action. There are physical actions (he picks up a sword) and verbal actions (“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die”). Each action in a good script has a significance. In rehearsal and in prepping your actors, be sure to go over scenes beat-by-beat, if necessary, to make sure everyone understands the scene. Why a character does one thing and not another: their (yes) motivation is what will inform how the actor internalizes the action. More »